Dear Readers,

I generally post here to report on the latest great news, reflecting from a safe distance on past growing pains. During my year as an Ambassadorial Scholar, I felt so liberated flying ahead with the scholarship’s supportive space, that I could easily share with a room filled with people the times when I was told that Madagascar was a crazy dream. I would joke about losing friends, while fighting to keep going, since in that moment, my crazy dreams were becoming real. But coming back, those past moments became real again.

After my summer thesis in Madagascar and follow-ups on changing policies and partners, it was time to head back to the drawing board. Back in New York with old family, friends, and a mini public window, creative reinvention demanded fierce adamancy and definitely patience, both with myself and the time it takes to open space for sustainable change.

I do hope to find reality, but I’d like to create it, not come back. I have an uncle who likes to ask what I’m doing in my life, and when I say lala Madagascar, he always says, “oh, still not past that..?” And confused, I say, “no, I’ll probably never be past that..?”

No matter what happens, some may always be waiting for me to come back to reality. The only thing to do is keep going, undeterred, as plans grow even crazier and involve further leaps into the unknown. Certainly, logic about my ‘career path’ no longer deters me (though, to be fair, not sure it ever did). In telling Alison Jolly about a not-so-encouraging meeting, she says, “well we can’t give up on Madagascar, what would happen then?”

All I know is that Alison Jolly, who has brought hope to Madagascar since 1963, is including me in her ‘we’. So, even at the messy part of new educational partnerships, I am trying to get up and speak about what is real to me. While it is always easier to speak on vulnerabilities when past them, I stood up shaking at the District Conference this weekend, and spoke to many accomplished Rotarians about reality.

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The hope for Madagascar, for science, and for children’s learning are all a curiosity with the great ‘unknown’. So rather than being afraid of it, I’m trying to get comfortable again with that reality. The possibilities will only be understood if we dare to explore them.

Best always,

Daniella